Tag Archive | "Reviews"

Movie Review: Time in the Minors


Time in the Minors

I have watched a lot of documentaries on baseball. My favorite ones deal with what minor leaguers do in order to reach the major leagues, and Time in the Minors delivers.

Time in the Minors is a film by Tony Okun that follows two minor league players in their quest to reach the major leagues through the 2006 season. The best part of this film is that it follows two players in different times of their career. The first was a 6th round pick out of one of the best college baseball programs in the country in Stanford named Tony Schrager. By this time, Schrager had been in the minor leagues for 8 years and had reached the AAA level, but had not reached the majors. The other player followed is a high school player drafted in the 1st round by the Cleveland Indians in John Drennen. With a million dollar bonus, Drennen heades to low A ball as he starts his professional career.

With each player you get to see different aspects of minor league life, the breaks you need to advance through the levels, and the hard work that has to go in everyday.

Minor League Life

Whether you are a 1st round pick that got a million dollar signing bonus or a 6th round pick who only got an $87,500 bonus, life in the minors is going to be similar. No matter where you get drafted, you aren’t going to make a living playing single A baseball. Pay is just not that much. In 1998, rookie league players got paid $850 a month. By 2005, rookie league players were only up to $1175 a month in pay. Then take in the fact that you only get paid during the baseball season, you aren’t talking about enough to make a living through the year. Plus they do not get paid during spring training. This is something that is often overlooked in different documentaries covering minor league baseball, so I was glad to see it addressed in Time in the Minors.

It’s a difficult time for the players, but also for their loved ones. At one point, Tony Schrager and his wife talk about some of the things they went through. I was glad this was included in the film because its the little things like this that are too often overlooked. At one point in the year, Tony was playing with Carolina but was promoted to AAA Albuquerque. He had to jump on a plane and get to the Salt Lake City where Albuquerque was on the road and leave everything behind. So his wife was given the task of driving from their home in Arizona to North Carolina, pack up everything, and drive it back to Arizona. This isn’t they type of thing that you hear about often if at all. But it gives you more insight of the difficult things a minor leaguer, and his family, can be put through.

Being a professional baseball player isn’t always glamorous. Most people see the Major Leaguers and see the glamor that goes along with it, but life in the minors isn’t so glamorous. Between the long bus rides, low pay, old ballparks, cramped dressing areas, and sometimes living with a lot of teammates or with a host family, life in the minors takes a tough willed player to keep going.

John Drennen

John Drennen with the Akron Aeros

Catching Some Breaks

Every year, 1500 players are drafted into the minor leagues. That means a lot of players are going to lose their jobs to newer younger players. You don’t make it to the big leagues without talent, and you might not make it without catching some breaks. But in the grand scheme of things, those breaks can go against you.

That is what happened to Tony Schrager in 2005. Schrager worked hard and made his way through the minor league system. Having made it to AAA with

the Dodgers organization, he was invited to spring training and told he was one of 35 guys they thought could help them in the big leagues that year. Tony got sent down to AAA to start the season but felt this was his year to be called up. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. I don’t want to giveaway everything that happens, but as someone who dreamed of playing major league baseball as a kid, it’s a little hard to watch as Tony get past over after many solid years in the minors.

It just goes to show that the breaks don’t always go your way. Less than 10% of the players that play minor league baseball will make it to the major leagues. Sometimes it takes more than simply talent to make the big leagues.

Tony Schrager

Tony Schrager with the Carolina Mudcats

Work Hard Everyday

Perhaps the greatest part of this documentary is the inside look at just how hard you have to work everyday in the minor leagues.

When a player reaches the minor leagues, playing everyday might be the most difficult thing for him to overcome. John Drennen went from high school to the pros and you got to see his struggles which was an interesting inside look at a top prospect. Injuries, the daily grind, and simply learning how to prepare to play everyday are things that get shown in the movie. Drennen’s manager Lee May Jr. talks about the challenges that players go through. Learning how to pace themselves is key to becoming a better player. Drennen is a player who goes hard all the time, but learning how to pace himself to make it through that daily grind was one thing that he talked about.

Too many people think that being a professional player is just sleeping late, showing up to play a game, and partying all night. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The ones that work hard everyday are the ones that have a better chance to continue the climb through the minors. The documentary does a great job conveying that each time a player moves up they have to prove themselves again.

The documentary also shows the mental side of the game, which is one thing that is so attractive about the film. This might be the part of the game that separates the cream of the crop from the everyone else. Tony Schrager talks about have a bad day in the baseball business and the possibility of losing a job. That is not something that is apt to happen in the rest of the business world. If you have a bad day at the office chances are you will come back the next day without fear of losing your job. That’s not the case with a minor league player. On a whim a player can have a job one day and not the other.

Filmmaker Tony Okun talks with some big whigs from the baseball world which was a nice added touch. Getting to hear the insight of people like Indians Director of Player Development (now the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays) or advanced scout for the Chicago Cubs Brad Kelley was very interesting. These are the people making the decisions on who to sign, who to cut, or who to promote/demote in their systems. But one of the people in the film that I really enjoyed listening to was Kenneth Ravizza, PhD. He is a Professor of Sport Psychology from Cal State Fullerton University. He was able to talk about the challenges that players face playing everyday and some of the things that they must overcome in order to continue to advance through the minors. It was very interesting to hear from a professional point of view.

I think the quote from the beginning of the movie sums up a lot of things dealing with minor league life.

Every day is an opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.” Bob Feller – Hall of Fame pitcher, Cleveland Indians (1936-1956)

This is by far one of my favorite documentaries on minor league baseball. The contrasts from a player working to make the majors in his 8th season to a young kid straight out of high school makes for a great film. I would highly recommend to anyone who is a baseball fan to check out this film. It’s a great look at what it takes to make it to the big leagues. Life isn’t always sun and fun in the minors, but those that are mentally tough, willing to learn, and work hard have the upper hand to make it to the show.

You can purchase the film Time in the Minors here and you won’t be sorry you did. I easily give this film a Baseball Journeyman rating of 5 gloves.

Check out the trailer on YouTube –

Follow The Baseball Journeyman on Twitter or Facebook. And don’t forget to join our RSS feed for all the latest information.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Posted in Reviews, MoviesComments (1)

Blog Review: John’s Big League Baseball Blog


Today I am going to take a look at another blog I enjoy reading: John’s Big League Baseball Blog.

John Sharp is simply a huge baseball fan. He writes about his favorite players of each team, old school players/teams, and the history of the game. Hailing from Kalamazoo, MI, John tends to write a bit about the Detroit Tigers, and he does it well.

One of the recent posts that got my attention was John’s announcement that he will be awarding the Annual Bill Freehan Award given to the best catcher in each league. Freehan, if you do not know, was a catcher with the Detroit Tigers back in the 60’s and 70’s. He was also the first catcher to win 5 consecutive gold gloves in the AL from 1965-69. But the best part of the award is its not just 1 man’s opinion. John is going to ask readers on a weekly basis to vote for the best catcher. These votes will then be used, along with his own pick, to determine the catcher of the week. I look forward to this next season.

Another thing that I love about John’s blog is his radio show. John’s Big League Radio Show airs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon on BlogTalkRadio.com. John talks a lot about all the Detroit sports teams and Michigan football. He will be integrating on Monday his “Game Balls” that he does during football season,  so drop by and check out his show. You won’t be disappointed.

John is also a contributer to Detroit Tigers Scorecard. He does a lot from roster moves, to opinion pieces. On of my favorites John wrote recently after the Hall of Fame induction announcement. John talks about why Tigers like Jack Morris and Alan Trammel are not in the HOF.

John is a fellow member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA), and does a great job covering different aspects of the game. I enjoy the history of the game, and what better team to talk about the history of baseball with than one of the oldest franchises the Detroit Tigers. Recently I enjoyed learning a bit about one of the greatest Tigers of all-time, Al Kaline. John brings a great perspective

You can find John writing at John’s Big League Baseball Blog, on Twitter @freehan11, or talking baseball 3 days a week on Blog Talk Radio. And don’t forget to add his RSS feed to your reader to keep up to date with each post.

Enter for your chance to win a free baseball book. Enter Here

Follow The Baseball Journeyman on Twitter or Facebook. And don’t forget to join our RSS feed for all the latest information.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Posted in Reviews, BlogsComments (0)

Blog Review: The Bleacher GM


I read a lot of blogs online. A LOT. So I thought it would be good for me to introduce my readers with some of what I read.

The Bleacher GM is one of those sites. I am a longtime fantasy baseball player, and Jeff and Jeremy at Bleacher GM bring their readers a lot of great information dealing with fantasy baseball. But they bring you more than just fantasy talk. Some of the gold on their site are the draft tools in the form of spreadsheets (my favorite is the multiple category hitters) detailing hitters and pitchers who lead different categories as well as mock drafts.

But that’s not all. If you are a fantasy player, you love rankings, and Bleacher GM brings you rankings. The position by position rankings that they bring you are well worth the look, especially if you are looking for that starting catcher after yours just tore an ACL.

Another part of their site are the stories they tell. I am an avid baseball traveler, and I want to eventually see every stadium. A series that has started recently by Jeremy, or JTM, was a road trip with some fellow fantasy addicts and beer drinking baseball buddies. I love stuff like this.  JTM is on part 2 of the story so far, and I am looking forward to more. It’s an interesting tale of 4 guys on a trip to see baseball along the east coast. It’s a funny tale about how they did not want to trip to be a gay-cation Thelma and Louise style with just 2 guys, so they invited more. I also learned about the “The Rule of Rollercoaster” which I thought was not only interesting and true, but funny at the same time.  This series will definitely be and entertaining read. So check it out.

The newest aspect of the site are the podcasts. I think this is a great idea. They are just getting started, but doing a great job so far. I caught the 2nd podcast they did to hear what they thought of some of the baseball moves this off-season. I enjoyed it and will definitely be back for more.

Both Jeremy and Jeff bring a lot to the table, and with their years of fantasy experience, they can help you field a winning team. They are always open to talking fantasy baseball, and are more than willing to answer any questions you might have. Whether you are a newbie that just started your first season or an experienced vet, their knowledge can always help. Besides, who doesn’t like to toss around trade ideas with fellow fantasy owners.

You can find them at BleacherGM.com or if you have questions shoot them an email. They are always looking to talk fantasy baseball. JTM can be found at jeremy.manning@bleachergm.com while Jeff, or Furtah as he is referred to at times, can be reached at jeff.furtah@bleachergm.com. Or find them on Facebook or Twitter and if you are like me and can’t live without something like Google reader you can get their RSS feed here.

Follow The Baseball Journeyman on Twitter or Facebook. And don’t forget to join our RSS feed for all the latest information.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Posted in Reviews, BlogsComments (2)

Movie Review: Road to the Big Leagues


Besides the United States, more big leaguers come from the Dominican Republic than any other country. For many in the poor country, baseball is their life and their only way off the island. This movie is a look inside the the world of baseball in the Dominican Republic.

Kids here learn baseball from an early age. They will play anywhere they can find a stick and something to swing at. In the movie, the game of choice was “vitilla” which was a form of stick ball, except there was no ball. Instead, they used the plastic cap from a water bottle. A “safe” hit was one where the fielder could not pick up the cap before it stopped moving, whereas an “out” was when they could pick it up as it still moved.

The kids would play anywhere they could. Many had practically nothing but lived with the dreams of making the big leagues. A glove or jersey was a prized possession, and a chance to play ball is all they wanted.

The film followed a few players for a while. One was Juan Cabrera. He was a 17-year-old kid who dreamed big. He followed the circuit of tryout camps hoping to get signed. And even though he showed some talent, it took him some time before he was finally signed.

Many of the major leaguers return home during the off-season to live and workout where they grew up. They showed two of these stars as they worked out with kids from their neighborhoods. The first was David Ortiz. He is from Santo Domingo, and he would return home during the winter months to work out. The man who trained him when he was 15 was training Cabrera, so we got to see what Ortiz thought of the young talented player. It was an interesting look at the hunger displayed by someone who is trying to make it, and at the same time the hunger and drive of someone who had made it but wanted to stay at the top of his game.

The movie also showed a bit of the ugly side of baseball in the Dominican as well. There are many players who try to use fake documents to show they are younger than they really are in order to get signed. One of those players was showcased in this film.

The player in question was the cousin of a major league star and was talented in his own right. However, he was caught lying about his age (saying he was 21 instead of 24) after he had signed a contract with the Red Sox. If someone is caught, they are immediately released and banned from the game. So here was this young kid who tried to cheat the system. He was out of baseball, had no job, and was hustling to make it day to day. It’s a sad reality, but one that does exist.

The film also showed life inside the academies of the Dominican. When players are signed, they are assigned to that teams academy. There they are trained as ballplayers. They eat, sleep, and drink baseball. But they also learn another important aspect for many of them, English. Here the players will compete with one another to improve enough to be assigned to a minor league team in the United States. From there they will begin their journey to the big leagues.

There are a lot of success stories from these academies, and this is why they run them. In the film, one of the big prospects at the Mets academy was Carlos Gomez who is now a major leaguer having played 2010 with the Milwaukee Brewers. There are countless stories of kids coming from poor backgrounds to the majors, and this is what motivates and drives these young kids. They see the success stories, and they want to fulfill that dream.

The academies are realistic though. They know not everyone is going to make it, but they are hopeful that they are around the average which is about 5 players in 100 reaching the majors. That’s not a great percentage, but its enough to keep the kids playing hard and the teams looking for more talent.

It’s a never ending cycle it seems but there is a lot of talent to be found. Players coming out of the Dominican Republic are some of the best in the majors. They are aggressive (the other MLB player highlighted might be the most aggressive in Vladimir Guerrero), and as the old saying goes, you can’t walk off the island.

I really enjoyed this movie, and would recommend it to any baseball fan out there. It is only 52 minutes long, so it is not a huge time commitment. I was able to stream it on Netflix, so check that out if you have it. Or you can pick it up on Amazon Road to the Big Leagues (Rumbo A Las Grandes Ligas).

I am going to give it a rating of 3 gloves.  It’s a good film to see, but it just doesn’t go into a whole lot of depth an any one subject which is really the only complaint I have.

Follow Baseball de World on Twitter or Facebook and don’t forget to join our RSS feed.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Posted in Reviews, MoviesComments (2)

Movie Review: Touching Home: Baseball in the Bushes


Noun 1. bush league – a league of teams that do not belong to a major league (especially baseball)

Touching Home, Baseball in the Bushesis a short documentary about life in the minors and the 2004 Chillicothe Paints.

Located in Chillicothe, Ohio (population 25,000), the Paints are one of the founding members of the Frontier League (the team is now apart of a top collegiate summer league). The area in Ohio has a long history of baseball, and this documentary brings that out which was very interesting. Using old photos and newspaper articles, they show baseball stories going back to the beginning of baseball in Chillicothe in 1884.

The makers of the movie did a great job blending the rich history of Chillicothe into the modern day team. The chronicled some of the older players whose numbers had been retired for various reasons over their 14 year history. Talking to some lifetime fans in the area who had seen it all was a very nice touch. You got stories from someone who was there and new most of the players instead of just someone who had heard stories.

What I really liked about this movie was how they took you behind the scenes of the club and talked to you about some of the financials dealing with an independent minor league team. For instance, each team in the Frontier League had to carry 11 rookies, and each rookie was to be paid $600 a month. That is not a lot of money to live off of which is why the team has to rely on host families to provide the players with meals and a roof over their heads.

Chillicothe was the smallest market in the league, and was the only remaining original member. They were able to do this because of things like the league salary cap. MLB could learn a thing or two from this. Veterans were paid up to $1200 a month. This was for someone who had a few years of affiliated ball under their belts which wasn’t the case for most of these players.

Leagues like the Frontier League are always bringing in new players. A slump in a league like this could cost you your job and perhaps a chance to make back to or into affiliated ball. So players play hard because they know they are always close to being cut which makes this level of play, while not the highest in professional ball, some of the more interesting. There are no bonus babies who let their ego go to their head. Those players wouldn’t cut it at this level. They would be cut before they knew what hit them. Hustle is key, and to me that always makes for good baseball no matter what the talent level.

There were 3 players that they talked to. You got a good feel for their stories and lives in the minors which was nice, but I would have loved to have seen a little bit more actual baseball action. Most of that was done in the background of the stories they were telling. I understand this can be a difficult balancing act, and I am not one easily pleased when it comes to a baseball documentary. But with all that said, I really enjoyed this movie.

Sure it would have been nice to hear from more players but they did include the manager, the pitching coach, the general manager, and some long time fans which was a nice touch. Overall I thought they did a really good job with it. It’s short, but I am always going to want more no matter how long or short it is.

I would definitely recommend watching this, especially if you like minor league baseball. You get a little feel for the history of baseball in the area, and you get a good look at what life can be like for a struggling independent league ball player. I would rate it a good 3 gloves*:

*Rating system:
5 gloves: A must see/read and something you will want to own to see/read again and again.
4 gloves: A must see/read but something you may or may not want to own depending on the topic.
3 gloves: Really worth seeing/reading but perhaps something you can rent or borrow
2 gloves: Watch it or read it if you are into the subject matter (i.e. minors, a certain team/player, etc…) but don’t purchase it.
1 glove: Don’t waste your time.

Follow The Baseball Journeyman on Twitter or Facebook. And don’t forget to join our RSS feed for all the latest information.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Posted in Reviews, MoviesComments (0)

Book Review: Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit


Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit, by Matt McCarthy, is a tale about a Yale graduate spending a year in the low minors.  It captures the essence of the game played out of the spotlight and headlines of the major leagues and gives an insight to the life of a minor leaguer.

McCarthy was a left-handed pitcher who played for some of the worst teams in Yale history. He starts briefly with his days in high school in Orlando. He talks about his days at Yale playing with his friend and future major leaguer Craig Breslow, and chronicles his year in rookie ball in Provo, Utah.

Playing in rookie ball is one thing.  Playing rookie ball in Provo, Utah is a whole other experience. With the strong Mormon presence, and the fact they play their home games at BYU, they are unable to do certain things like have home games on Sundays. It’s an interesting and entertaining look at the lives of minor league players.

From roommates to host families, Matt does a great job showing what the life of a struggling minor leaguer is like. The low pay, sometimes bad living conditions, trying to make it in a very competitive environment where your roommate might be fighting for the same job as you, to long bus rides to the middle of nowhere Canada, this book delivers. If you want an honest look at the life of a minor leaguer straight out of college learning the ropes of being a professional ball player, this is the book for you.

McCarthy does a great job throwing names you will recognize. He played with future major leaguers and even a future NFL wide receiver. The stories about the players and their sometimes crazy coach will keep you laughing. I couldn’t put the book down. Matt does a great job telling the story in an easy to read, understandable (after all he is now a Yale and Harvard Medical School graduate), and entertaining way. The stories and characters are memorable and likable at the same time.

The book was released several years after Matt’s year in the minors. There have been questions raised about the validity of some of the stories and/or quotes. I think when reading this type of book it is important to remember that some things might be embellished. Not everyone in the book is presented with a glowing seal of approval. There are talks of racist teammates, steroids, and a circus like atmosphere led by their coach. Do I believe everything in this book to be 100% true? No, but I don’t believe that in any book I read. Do I think everything I read could have happened? Yes, and I doubt that the stuff that was disputed might not have been far from the truth. Anytime someone is not painted in a pretty picture, they are going to fight it. All in all I think this book is a great read.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a baseball fan. The stories are enlightening and funny, and I loved the inside look of the low minors where you can be unemployed as quick as the wind changes direction. So do yourself a favor and pick this book up. It’s been around awhile so it is affordable and a great easy read. You can pick it up at Amazon – Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit or anywhere where good books are sold.

I give this book a rating of 5 gloves:

Follow The Baseball Journeyman on Twitter or Facebook. And don’t forget to join our RSS feed for all the latest information.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Posted in Reviews, BooksComments (0)

Movie Review: Bottom of the Ninth


I try to watch any and all documentaries on baseball especially ones about minor league baesball. I found this one on the web some time ago but never pulled the trigger on getting it. Recently I found it on Netflix, so I had to get it to watch.

I have seen some good ones of the years on minor league baseball. I am fascinated by the life the guys in the minors go through on their journey to the majors or obscurity. So when this one came in the mail, I immediately sat down to watch it. I think my expectations were a little too high though, and I was disappointed.

Bottom of the Ninth tells the story of the 2001 season of the New Jersey Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League. There are a lot of characters on the team managed by the great Sparky Lyle, who is a character himself. There are some former major leaguers on the team like pitcher John Briscoe. Through in some guys who put up amazing stats some years (Billy Hall stole 104 bases in 2000 with 66 in a row without being thrown out) and you have a great cast of characters. But the story was lacking with life in the minors.

The movie talked more about their run for the championship, which in itself was interesting, but I was really looking for more on life in the minors. The best part of the movie was the championship series which really was thrilling, but I wanted to see more about the players lives and how many of them have adjusted to play at the lowest level of professional baseball.

I would not say don’t watch this, but I would not recommend spending $25 to purchase it. Instead, if you have Netflix toss it in your queue and watch it when it comes. But if you are like me and have seen several of the other really good ones, don’t get your hopes up. But if you go into it knowing that it is good for other reasons, you will really enjoy it.

With a lot of other reviews on books and movies coming, I am implementing a rating system. I will rate from 1-5 gloves (I have to keep it baseball related so no stars like everywhere else). Below is my rating system:

5 gloves: A must see/read and something you will want to own to see/read again and again.
4 gloves: A must see/read but something you may or may not want to own depending on the topic.
3 gloves: Really worth seeing/reading but perhaps something you can rent or borrow
2 gloves: Watch it or read it if you are into the subject matter (i.e. minors, a certain team/player, etc…) but don’t purchase it.
1 glove: Don’t waste your time.

For this movie I would give it:

Stay tuned for more reviews in the coming weeks and Happy Holidays!

Follow The Baseball Journeyman on Twitter or Facebook. And don’t forget to join our RSS feed for all the latest information.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Posted in Reviews, MoviesComments (0)

Blog Review: I-70 Baseball


As the hot stove season heats up, I want to bring you more of my favorites from the world of baseball blogging. One of my favorites happens to be written about two teams that, while I am not particularly enthusiastic about, I have a great respect for and find myself rooting for quite often.

I-70 Baseball covers the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals. I don’t have a big affiliation with either club, but they bring back one of my earliest memories of baseball with the 1985 World Series. I have always had a great respect for the Cardinals and their fans who I think are some of, if not, the best in the majors. They are passionate and very knowledgeable which is, sadly, a unique combination in today’s environment. I am always rooting for the Royals as well, except when they play the Rangers. The Royals have a long history of winning, but recent years they have been the doormat of the American League since they are one of the small market teams. These teams that go head to head with the Yankees $200+ million payroll, I will always be rooting for.

I-70 Baseball is an affiliate site of Baseball Digest providing regional coverage of the Cardinals and Royals. And they do a great job. Despite not being a huge fan of either team, I enjoy reading the articles at I-70 Baseball as they give a good insight to both teams.

I-70 Baseball is led by Founder and Executive Editor Bill Ivie. A longtime Cardinal fan, Bill is a baseball historian who spends countless hours digging through the history of the game. This allows him to bring great knowledge of the game to go along with his passion. Bill is also a contributer to BaseballDigest.com and shortly after joining the team there he became the Assignment Editor. You can find him on twitter @poisonwilliam.

Mr. Ivie has a great staff as well helping out over at I-70 Baseball. As a long time Royals fan, Matt Kelsey serves as associate editor and senior writer. Matt has a background in the newspaper industry and is a published fiction writer which brings a great style to the site. You can find him on twitter @matt_kelsey.

Angela Weinhold was the first writer that joined I-70 when it was still just a concept.  Her work on the series “Cardinals In Time” has been almost novel worthy.  She has recently accepted an Associate Editor position with the site and frequently handles duties as a Chat Host during the radio show on Monday nights.  If you ask Bill, Angela has become his right hand in most of his projects and has quickly become someone he can depend on when he needs to get things done. You can find her on twitter @CardsChic

This is only the tip of the iceberg as well. I-70 Baseball has a bevy of contributers for both Royals and Cardinals coverage which is why they are the premier site for coverage of either team.

There are so many things to like about the site since they bring so much to the table. All too often blogs tend to forget the minors, but not here. One of my favorite things about the site is the farm reports. Whether it’s the Arizona Fall League or the Rule 5 Draft, these guys have it covered. They cover the old, the new, the future, fantasy, and so much more.

One of my favorite posts was just done a few days ago. The Balboni Line deals with the lack of power the Royals have shown over the years. I was amazed at the lack of power they have shown with not having a single player in their history to hit 40 home runs. With all the sluggers they have had over the years (Steve Balboni, Dean Palmer, Danny Tartabull, George Brett, Jermainie Dye, and so many more) I would have thought that 1 player in their long history would have gotten to 40.

This year was also the 25th Anniversary of the I-70 World Series. For the past few months, I-70 has brought updates from games and moments from that historic series. That has brought back a lot of great memories for me as this is the 1st World Series I remember watching as as kid. The articles ran on the anniversary days of the series, and you can find the game recaps along with commentary. It’s a great series.

But I-70 Baseball is more than reading blog entries. One of my favorite parts is the weekly hour long internet radio broadcast on Blog Talk Radio. Every Monday night at 10 pm CST Bill and Matt bring you interviews, insights, and so much more. I love baseball documentaries, and I was hooked on the internet radio broadcast when I found out they were talking to movie maker Tony Okun, the director of “Time in the Minors”. It was a great interview and highlighted some interesting information regarding minor league baseball.  I recommend checking it out here. After hearing the interview, I can’t wait to see the documentary.

So do yourself a favor and head on over to I-70 Baseball. There are some great writers bringing some great baseball coverage to their readers. If you are on Twitter, you can follow and chat with the staff @i70baseball or you can follow them on Facebook too.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed so you don’t miss another post.  That is my way of reading their articles every day.

Stay tuned for more of my favorite blogs.

Follow The Baseball Journeyman on Twitter or Facebook. And don’t forget to join our RSS feed for all the latest information.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Posted in Reviews, BlogsComments (3)

Movie Review: Out of Left Field


Out of Left Field: The Making of the Chinese Olympic Baseball Team

This is the story of how two former major leaguers worked for four years to turn China into a formidable team for the Olympics in Beijing. Former MLB manager Jim Lefebvre led the way in teaching these athletes the right way to play the game in order to become competitive with the best on the world’s stage. Lefebvre was helped by former MLB pitcher Bruce Hurst who acted as pitching coach for the Chinese National team.

This was a short (1 hour) PBS documentary of what the team went through in order to post a competitive team as they hosted the Olympics. They had a lot to overcome in the process and it was interesting to see how they progressed as a team.

Perhaps the main issue was lack of experience. Baseball is not a huge sport in China like it is elsewhere in the world. The Chinese players don’t have the same opportunity as players in many other places  have in learning the game. So the team set out to play a lot of games prior to the Olympics. They made several trips to the US, did a tour of Italy playing other international teams, and played in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

In their initial tour of the US, in 2005, they played a lot of junior college teams and some high school all-star teams. You would think a national team should blow these teams away, but they didn’t. They were still learning the game, but soon they would be able to field a team that could play with some of the best teams in the world.

They toured Italy in 2005 playing teams like Cuba among others. One of the big issues with this tour was food. I thought it was interesting how the movie showed how they fed the team during the course of the few years they were together. In the US they had places fix them special meals like what they would eat back home. In Italy, they had issues with finding food that the players liked. Apparently the noodles in Italy and China are very different and they did not like the Italian noodles. So, they resulted in eating at places like McDonald’s at times.

Another issue they had, as you might expect with American coaches, was the language barrier. They said the first translator knew so little about baseball that she was calling a bat the golf club. They finally got that sorted out, but it was still laborous at times to get their point across while coaching. Most of the players spoke no English, and the coaches didn’t speak any Chinese. They overcame it though and you could really see how the team became competitive. It didn’t happen overnight though.

China would go on to a 1-6 record at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Despite the bad record, many of the games were very close including a 1-0 loss to eventual gold medalist South Korea. They did manage to beat Chinese Taipei 8-7 in extra innings for their only victory.

I don’t think anyone felt China would be a medal contender in their first Olympics, but hopefully their run up to the Olympics only helped spread the game of baseball more in China.

I highly recommend anyone picking this up. I got it through Netflix, so I know it’s available there. You can also purchase through Amazon here – Out of Left Field.

Follow The Baseball Journeyman on Twitter or Facebook. And don’t forget to join our RSS feed for all the latest information.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Posted in Reviews, MoviesComments (1)

Movie Review: Nine Innings from Ground Zero: The 2001 World Series


This was easily the most emotional documentary on baseball I have ever seen. Everyone remembers exactly where they were on that fateful day in September of 2001.  This movie (from HBO) did a great job of telling the story of NYC, and America, after 9/11 and how many people took refuge in the game of baseball at least for a brief moment.

This was a touching movie. I am a Yankee hater.  I hate the evil empire with every fiber of my being, but this documentary put them in a light where they could at least be tolerated for a short time.  And I think that is how all Yankee haters felt in 2001.  They were a symbol for the mighty city that had taken a blow, but would not quit.

The interviews in the documentary were very moving. That time is very emotional for all Americans, but as someone who only saw it from the outside looking in, it is much more emotional when I hear someone who lost family members talk about it. There were some sad stories, but they were stories of heroes. Heroes that must never be forgotten.

I would strongly recommend this to any baseball fan. It chronicles the immediate aftermath of resuming play in MLB, and the 2001 World Series which was one of the greatest ever.

Seeing this reminds me of just how much I love this game. How it can be many things to many people, but in the end it is the same to everyone, a great escape from the harshness of everyday life. You could see and hear about people who lost themselves in a game, even if for only a few hours, to help themselves deal with the enormity of the situation. To see them so caught up in the game that has brought happiness to so many during such a difficult time was great to see.

I thought the story tellers did a fine job of combining not only what the fans were going through, but what the players were going through as well as people like the mayor and his staff.

And perhaps best of all, you got to see how everyone pulled together. Seeing the heroes on the field become the awestruck was a good side to see. It reminds us how precious life is, and how baseball, while not being a healer necessarily, can help ease the pain of the time.

I got my copy from Netflix.  So go out today and pick up your copy.  It’s well worth it if you haven’t seen it yet.

Follow The Baseball Journeyman on Twitter or Facebook. And don’t forget to join our RSS feed for all the latest information.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Posted in Reviews, MoviesComments (1)

New Era (eFashion Solutions)

Quote of the Month

There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971

Polls

Who Will Win the 2014 World Series?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
film izle yerli film izle
üniversite taban puanları lys konuları